The coldest and most crisp winter wedding can still strike up a tremendous warmth in your belly. The images from Chris and Joanne’s big day are the visual equivalent of sinking a good slug of Whisky and then stepping out amongst a bitter January frost.
Bibury Court Hotel provides the perfect seasonal backdrop for a day full to the brim of winter, a day full of warmth and of love, laughter and the odd surprise.
Home Or Away?
Our wedding was held on 10th of December 2011 at Bibury Court Hotel in The Cotswolds. We currently live in Bournemouth but my parents are from Cheltenham and I’ve always loved the Cotswolds so we decided to get married there. Originally we were going to go abroad because we were very keen to do something different, but we then decided that actually having a wedding in the UK could offer us this, with the benefit of the people we love being around us to help us celebrate.
Bibury court was the most beautiful venue, which we had exclusively. This gave our winter wedding a lovely cosy feel. Our wedding co-ordinator Catherine was exceptional throughout the whole process, as was the lovely assistant manager Sarah. The food by Nigel Goodwin, a new chef at the venue, was also delicious.
I had To Have It.
The dress was Eden by Jenny Packham. I tried on about 20 dresses before I saw this one and they all looked OK but when I saw this in Brides Magazine, I knew I had to have it! I bought it from Wedding days of Cheltenham who have a large range of Jenny Packham dresses and other designer gowns and were so fab throughout the whole process.
Jenny Knows Her Stuff!
I had a headband and earrings both by Jenny Packham that were designed to go with the dress. I wasn’t going to argue with Jenny on this one! I also wore a gold Italian good luck necklace (my something borrowed from my beautiful bridesmaid Becca).
I dragged my Mum and Dad around London for a whole day trying to find the perfect shoes. Originally I thought plain Louboutins, but none of them felt quite right. Just as we gave up looking we passed the Jimmy Choo Knightsbridge store and I saw my blingtastic dream shoes. They were pretty sky scraper to be honest, so I kicked them off when I rocked out to the band in the evening.
Relaxed And Simple.
My hair and make-up was done by the Cirencester Blushes team with Kate on make-up and Gary on hair. I wanted something really relaxed and simple so that the dress was the focus which I think they achieved.
Cream With Pearl And Diamante.
My Florist was the amazing Soraya at Ultraviolet Flowers in Southsea Portsmouth. I know it’s a long way to deliver flowers but she really is the best so it had to be her! The bouquets were all cream roses with pearl and diamante touches and my bouquet was held together with lace and a vintage brooch which Soraya had sourced. The bridesmaids were tied together with black silk which was a lovely contrast. The buttonholes were also cream roses.
The centrepieces were candelabras as we knew it would be dark during the breakfast and we wanted that cosy winter feel. They were also dressed with cream roses and were supplied by a local(ish) couple who run an amazing little candelabra hire company.
White And Cream.
For the maids and groomsmen we decided on a classy sophisticated white and cream jazzed up with a sprinkle of winter blingyness. We hired the groomsmens suits from Austin Reed and bought the bridemaids dresses from Wedding days of Cheltenham. The dress was really flattering on everyone (even my two heavily pregnant bridesmaids) and are avialble in a whole range of colours. The flower girls dresses are from Monsoon.
Design Your Own Suit.
Chris designed and wore a suit from aSuitThatFits.com. It was great fun designing his own suit and having it tailored, and the finished product was stunning, but we did have to make countless trips to and from London and Southampton because the tailoring wasn’t quite right. Also they were going to make the same suit for my dad but ran out of material which was a bit of pain. So he got his from Austin Reed which was lovely. If you are going to choose this option I would recommend that you leave plenty of time.
What A Bride Wants.
Originally we thought the best option was to get a photographer local to the venue in case it snowed. However we used a Bournemouth based company for our photo save the date cards called Big Bouquet who were so unbelievably good we thought we would risk the weather and choose them.
We loved Emma and Ian so much because they made us feel incredibly relaxed, and therefore the photos don’t look staged or forced. I am so happy with the finished product, I really feel that they captured the mood and feel of the occasion. They were also lovely, and very fun to have around on the day. The best bit about their work is the attention to detail. Emma constantly goes above and beyond to make sure that every part of the process is special for the bride and groom, from beautifully wrapping the save the dates, to updates on progress etc. You get the impression that having been a bride she really understands what a bride would ideally want and constantly provides that.
We don’t have much of a sweet tooth, however we both have a deep love for cheese so we were very keen on a cheesecake. We got this from The Cheese Works who delivered to the venue which was fab (no cheesy car smell). The groom’s friends are still talking about it now, they were all in fromage heaven.
We were worried that those who like a bit of ‘proper’ cake would be disappointed so we also went with a scrumptious cupcake tower from Angel Bakery. Catherine was a joy to deal with and combined small cupcakes, regular cupcakes, and one giant top cake. There was something for tiny and huge appetites.
Chris was in charge on entertainment, and I have to admit that it was the highlight. During the drinks reception we had a blues duo called Freewheelin’ who we saw play in a pub Gretton and fell in love with. Also as a surprise Chris arranged for my very talented cousin Scott Cameron to play a surprise acoustic solo set which was very emotional. In the evening we had undeniably the greatest wedding band of all time The Reacharounds who specialise in mash-ups of guilty pleasures. They were unbelievably good and made sure that the party was rocking all night long. In between their sets we had a DJ Chris Shaw keeping the party going who was also fantastic.
Beautiful Words And Happy Memories.
We chose Islands by The XX for our first dance. No one had really head of it and it was tricky to dance to, but it didn’t matter because the words are beautiful and it reminded us of an amazing holiday driving through France.
We both love Whisky so we named each table after one of our favourites, and then for the men we gave the miniature corresponding to the table name. This really helped to fuel the party atmosphere. The girls had handmade whisky truffles made by Pauline (the groom’s mother) which were very yummy and looked adorable.
Simple And Laid Back.
We kept the decor simple with lots of candles and cream rose petals and jazzed it up with some festive mistletoe and a beautiful tree table plan. The best thing about our wedding was that it all felt very laid back and allowed people to really relax and enjoy themselves. We had funny poems during the ceremony that reflected our personalities and relationship, the registrar accidentally said the best man’s name instead of the groom’s, we all drank lots of beautiful cocktails, and we kicked off our shoes and rocked out to the band.
A Special Day.
The key thing for the both of us was to make choices based on what we liked and reflected our personalities and likes as opposed to opting for the traditional, or what we thought would look good. It made for a very real, emotional and special day.
Venue Bibury Court Hotel
Dress Jenny Packham
Boutique Wedding days of Cheltenham
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Hair And Make-up Blushes
Blooms Ultraviolet Flowers
Photography Big Bouquet
Band The Reacharounds
Cheese The Cheese Works
Cake Angel Bakery
When I spoke to Emma and Ian at Big Bouquet they said the surprise performance by guitar totting youngster Scott Cameron (a cousin of Joanne’s) really did bring the house down, one of those moments you’ll never forget. Also, apparently The Reacharounds can hold a pretty funky tune too!
I can’t leave you today without mentioning that dress – I LOVE it, and the first full width black & white portrait shot of Joanne with the fur could be a still from a movie. A classic movie.